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Thread: What do you think about Dickens realism?

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    What do you think about Dickens realism?

    Generally speaking there are two definitions of literary realism (More precise definitions or arguments are absolutely welcome):

    1-It is the aim of some of the modern fiction to portray the fictional characters and their enviroments as closely as posible to the world of the readers in order to convince them of their plausibility.
    2-It is a literary period (usually of the 19 C) specially devoted to paint "the world as it was". It was usually a very pessimistic trend. Some of its most famous representatives are Stendhal, Balzac and Flaubert (France), Eça de Queirós (Portugal) and Machado de Assis (Brazil).

    But Dickens highly imaginative (and sometimes phantastic) fiction is also considered realistic.
    What would characters like Miss Havisham (Great Espectation) and spontaneously combusting Krook (Bleak House) have in common with Madame Bovary and Father Goriot?
    Please give your opinions.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Well, Dickens writes in a weird place between satire and realism. I think of Mrs. Jellyby's ridiculous missionary efforts into the horribly real brickyards of Bleak House. She is only a caricature--or is she? If she isn't entirely real, the selfishness and self righteousness she brings the suffering poor is only too recognizable, even today. I think Dickens is always pushing the envelope with his satirical characters like this. In a way, they seem so unreal, yet they fit in perfectly with poverty and sin around them. No one else ever quite managed the trick like Dickens did. For me, it's what Dickens is all about.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    I am not sure if that is the only way to describe realism or if the second definition isnt about the first definition, but writers linked with realism such as Henry James denied it (saying reality was a matter of point of view and a novel is an expression of this view), or defined realiay as fantastic (Conrad for example said he avoided the supernatural because reality was already fantastic) and there is of course, Gogol accusing Chekhov of killing realism because his precise language and suberb style.

    Ortega Y Gasset said Dom Quixote was a novel filled with Realism, in fact, Quoxite was hyper-concious of reality... I guess literature is always realistic (Tolkien is a for example, his fantasy is solid grounded in what we expect for a normal world filled with orcs) and is always hyper concicous about it and that all language is symbolic, so Dickens is such a case. He wanted to show real sittuations and knew the best way to communicate was with satyrial representation of what was commun, not precise enough to be journalism, as the reader wouldnt believe, but close enough to allow everyone feel the sensation of being part of that picture.
    #foratemer

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Thanks, PB and Camilo

    I have to think about your posts, but will be back later.
    For now I agree with Camilo´s #.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    that's my topic, i only just realized your topic. I've just posted a thread about me finding his works boring.

    I find his works very boring and dictracting. I've only read 2 books of him, though! I feel bored with full of depictions of the characters, i've been able to read liek 150 pages. I'm sure he's a remarkable auther, but long depictions makes me disctacted and i end up thinking about unrelated issues while reading.

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    Oh. God bless; I wish you to not bother with books that affect you in such way you cannot think at all.

    Anyways, you do not read Dickens for his stories. You read for his characters (albeit Henry James will say everything is mixed in a novel and a character is only what he does in scene and a scene is only a place for a character... something like that). So, no worries, pick another writer.
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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lifeisart View Post
    that's my topic, i only just realized your topic. I've just posted a thread about me finding his works boring.

    I find his works very boring and dictracting. I've only read 2 books of him, though! I feel bored with full of depictions of the characters, i've been able to read liek 150 pages. I'm sure he's a remarkable auther, but long depictions makes me disctacted and i end up thinking about unrelated issues while reading.
    Dickens is one of my favorite authors but I agree with Camilo: you don´t have to read an author you don´t like. And above all you shouldn´t feel bad about it.
    "You can always find something better than death."
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    PB-"...they (the characters) seem so unreal, yet they fit in perfectly "-I think you have hit the nail on the head. They are more convincing as if they were real. And Dickens is a great master in setting his scene and creating the right atmosphere for his weird or comical characters.

    Camilo- There are different positions about realism and the phantastic world but I think one more or less safe definition of realism would be that one recognises the basic laws of the fictional world as similar to the laws of ones own. I agree that there is much realism in D. Quixote, because you get a concrete idea about the Spanish context.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Thanks for your suggestion! i'll stop reading him. I like Jane Austen in English literature. maybe i should read other writers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    PB-"...they (the characters) seem so unreal, yet they fit in perfectly "-I think you have hit the nail on the head. They are more convincing as if they were real. And Dickens is a great master in setting his scene and creating the right atmosphere for his weird or comical characters.

    Camilo- There are different positions about realism and the phantastic world but I think one more or less safe definition of realism would be that one recognises the basic laws of the fictional world as similar to the laws of ones own. I agree that there is much realism in D. Quixote, because you get a concrete idea about the Spanish context.
    Here a point, The laws of ones own are something that have changed a lot. There was a time that the laws included prophets, so it was quite reasonable and realistic to consult them to know about Laios death. I think it was Youcenar that said she picked Adriano to write her novel because it was a time the romans didnt believe their religion. Compare with Graves's I Claudius and the laws of the word included the belief of those gods.

    This goes of course to Magic Realism. There is a difference between the introduction of a fantastic element in some stories (let's say Stoker's Dracula) or to let's say, Borges's The Aleph. In the Aleph, the rules of the world are similar to our own. The fantastic element happens despite of those rules, not denying it (For example, the rules of Stoker say you can turn into fog, it is not similar to our world, yet to Stoker world is natural. In the Aleph, the use of paradox actually confronts the rules of our world, despite the internal logic of that world to be similar to ours. Neither go for the surreal fantastic element, such as Alice in the Wonderlands.
    #foratemer

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    I agree with lifeisart, I haven't read Dickens since I left school.

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    The Gnu Normal Pompey Bum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    PB-"...they (the characters) seem so unreal, yet they fit in perfectly "-I think you have hit the nail on the head. They are more convincing as if they were real. And Dickens is a great master in setting his scene and creating the right atmosphere for his weird or comical characters.
    I guess my point is that things like cruelty and depravity and poverty ought to feel unreal but they don't. Dickens gives us characters like Scrooge and Bumble and Uriah Heep who don't seem like they could possibly be real, and yet they fit right in. It's as if Dickens is showing us that parts of society we take for granted are absurd and horrific and ought to be unthinkable. But here it is.
    Last edited by Pompey Bum; 10-13-2016 at 12:34 PM.
    And this from a man in a bunny suit.

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    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    Here a point, The laws of ones own are something that have changed a lot. There was a time that the laws included prophets, so it was quite reasonable and realistic to consult them to know about Laios death. I think it was Youcenar that said she picked Adriano to write her novel because it was a time the romans didnt believe their religion. Compare with Graves's I Claudius and the laws of the word included the belief of those gods.

    This goes of course to Magic Realism. There is a difference between the introduction of a fantastic element in some stories (let's say Stoker's Dracula) or to let's say, Borges's The Aleph. In the Aleph, the rules of the world are similar to our own. The fantastic element happens despite of those rules, not denying it (For example, the rules of Stoker say you can turn into fog, it is not similar to our world, yet to Stoker world is natural. In the Aleph, the use of paradox actually confronts the rules of our world, despite the internal logic of that world to be similar to ours. Neither go for the surreal fantastic element, such as Alice in the Wonderlands.
    Sure Camilo, but there is the risk of too ample a definition of realism, or of conflicting definitions.I see realism as opposite to the phantastic or the fairy tales. One phantastic element as in Kafka´s The Metamorphosis or The Aleph is able to subvert the whole story.
    Realism as an epoch is often opposed to Romanticism by presenting reality from its worst side.

    I think Dickens`realism has elements of fairy tales, but set in an real environment.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompey Bum View Post
    I guess my point is that things like cruelty and depravity and poverty ought to feel unreal but they don't. Dickens gives us characters like Scrooge and Bumble and Uriah Heep who don't seem like they could possibly be real, and yet they fit right in to "the real world." It's as if Dickens is showing us that parts of society we take for granted are absurd and horrific and ought to be unthinkable.
    I would rather go in the other direction, PB. Dickens deforms the ugly aspects of reality to make them more conspicuous. Those caracters often have a haunting quality. And maybe at his time the middle classes were not so conscious of the urban misery and poverty around them.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamwoven View Post
    I agree with lifeisart, I haven't read Dickens since I left school.
    It´s a pity, but maybe he has become permanently associated to homework and chores for you.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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